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Interesting Peeps Dinners

Another great word of mouth strategy from The Parsinen Law Firm in Minneapolis. (I wrote about them here.) Here’s what they do:

The lawyers are asked to identify people who they know–clients and non–who are interesting people. Our goal is to group individuals who will benefit by knowing each other–personally or professionally. The group is small, about six people. From there, we contact an insider–someone close to the person and let them in on a “secret”–we want to invite their–boss, friend, spouse, colleague–to a special dinner for “interesting” friends of the firm. These contacts are delighted to be in on the secret and the fun. They very willingly help us locate the “interesting person” at an interesting and unexpected place….a baby shower, intimate dinner at a restaurant, back yard BBQ, etc…  So, we hand deliver beautiful invites–sealed in wax–to the interesting guest. We approach the guest, confirm identification..Barry Rubin?  When they say “yes” Surprise! they are handed the invite and the deliverer disappears. Of course this invitation is read aloud and everyone present enjoys the experience–serving as a great commercial for our law firm.

The invite copy reads:

You have been identified as a very interesting person by Shane Swanson at the Parsinen Kaplan Rosberg & Gotlieb. You and a guest are invited to attend a special evening planned for our “Interesting” friends. One detail…Shane, nor anyone from PKR+G will be in attendance.

What Happens…

The evening of the event, guests arrive at an off the beaten path, interesting restaurant, not knowing what to expect. A mysterious man in black at the entrance, greets them and hands them an envelope. Inside the envelope, they find a guest list with the following explanation:

You are about to enter a “connecting experience.” Your first connection will be with Lynn Gordon, entrepreneur, and founder of French Meadow Bakery. Lynn revolutionized the food industry with her functional breads and health food restaurant business model. You were named as an Interesting Person because you offer something special to those who meet you. “Connecting” is a powerful experience. Every connection made impacts life—personally or professionally. You are a very interesting person! Tonight you will meet some of our interesting friends. Have fun. You are about to have an “experience” that will impact your life!

As no one from the firm attends the party, we have no idea what happens. The morning after, or even the night of, we receive phone calls from our interesting guests. People connect personally and professionally. They love the concept, the people and the food. No one says it, they’re all too polite, but we’re fairly certain they also love that there are no attorneys–of course, we’re only guessing.

Oh, I should mention, on the dinner table are photos of the attorneys who invited the guests–serving two purposes…decorations and conversation starters.

Threaded through the entire concept are key messages that support our firm branding efforts. The buzz lasts….a very long time. People talk about this dinner years later. Also, they connect–doing business with one anther.

The Interesting People Dinners provide exposure to new, potential clients, nurture existing relationships, build the “not your average lawyer” branding message, and bridge the fear of selling for attorneys.

Lesson: Be interesting, or be invisible. What interesting thing have you done today?

(Thanks to Mary Kay Ziniewicz)

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